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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The experience of unemployment for learning disabled young adults Hansen, Lisa D.


This research study explores the experience of unemployment from the vantage point of learning disabled young adults. Thirteen learning disabled people in their twenties were interviewed utilizing a phenomenological/critical incident methodology. This methodology was utilized so as to obtain qualitative data from the perspective of the learning disabled person. The findings yielded information on the unique features of the psychological process of unemployment. The results indicate the unemployment experience begins earlier and extends further than for other non-disabled young adults. For learning disabled young adults, the roots to a history of unemployment lie within the school system. Programming within this system has failed to meet the special needs of learning disabled persons in vocational and academic areas. Termination of the unemployment experience does not necessarily coincide with securing a position within the workforce. Frequently, the learning disabled person has difficulty maintaining a position due to skill deficits. Hence, what often occurs is a series of short term positions. The result is a sporadic work history. In conclusion, it is suggested that a comprehensive list of services offered to the learning disabled would assist in increasing the opportunity for long term employment. These services in part include modifications to existing programmes for unemployment adults and psychological counselling.

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